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US Calls for Immediate of Release of Diplomat Detained in Pakistan

A US consulate employee identified by Pakistani authorities as Raymond Davis is escorted by police and officials in Lahore, Pakistan

The U.S. Embassy in Pakistan has issued a strongly worded statement calling for the release of a U.S. diplomat detained after a shooting incident in the eastern city of Lahore.

The embassy statement issued on Thursday calls for the immediate release of the diplomat identified by Pakistani authorities as Raymond Davis. The statement says his continued detention is a "gross violation of international law."

A Pakistan court ruled on Thursday that police can continue holding Davis, who is accused of a double murder, for at least eight more days. The embassy statement says that ruling was made without the diplomat having legal representation or a translator and that he has been denied due process and a fair hearing.

The statement says the U.S. deeply regrets the events in Lahore that led to the loss of life after the diplomat was attacked by armed assailants. But it also says Pakistan must comply with its obligations under international and Pakistani law and that the U.S. diplomat has immunity from criminal jurisdiction.

Davis was arrested after the alleged robbery attempt by two men on January 27. A third Pakistani was killed when he was struck by a consulate vehicle that had rushed to the scene of the shooting. Pakistani authorities have scheduled his next court date for February 11.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.